Prevent Limescale Damaging your Washing Machine

June 18th, 2012

Should I be worried about build-up of Limescale?

If you live in a hard water area you need to take steps to protect your home appliances. Hard water contains a larger quantity of dissolved minerals which, when heated or left to stand, form limescale. This poses a very serious threat to the health of your appliance.

Limescale coats the internal parts of your washing machine such as the heating element explains Plumber Salt Lake City. It forms a coating on the element in much the same way that it lines the inside of your kettle, making your washing machine less energy-efficient and forcing it to work harder to maintain performance. Limescale build-up not only makes your washing machine more expensive to run, but if it is allowed to persist, can even cause some internal parts to fail. When this happens, the part in question will need to be replaced. This can lead to a hefty repair bill, especially if you need to call a professional.

Inside your washing machine, hard water leads to limescale build-up on the heating element. Over time, as the limescale build up increases, this can cause the heating element to fail. Limescale build-up is also a problem for drums, pipes and hoses. Leaky, corroded pipes and hoses can also result in the breakdown of your machine and can lead to flooding.

Prevention is the key

The best way to combat Limescale in your washing machine is to use a good quality water softener or descaler to prevent build-up. There are lots of anti limescale products available ranging from tablets that can simply be added to your regular maintenance wash, to magnetic limescale systems that can be fitted into your washing machines inlet hose or between the water tap and inlet hose – for a more permanent solution. This means that using enough detergent should not result in limescale on the heating element. The main advantage of limescale tablets seems to be to soften the water and therefore allow you to reduce the amount of detergent needed but it’s advertised as a limescale preventer, which although it is, it’s implying it does something extra.

Washing machine detergent already contains ingredients to soften the water and protect the washing machine from limescale. If you use a good quality detergent, and the correct dosage of washing machine detergent for the hardness of your water and the level of soiling on the laundry then you shouldn’t need to use anything extra.

Limescale Build-up in Other Appliances

It is not just your washing machine that is at risk. Limescale can be a problem for a whole range of home appliances including dishwashers, kettles, irons and coffee makers. Just as with your washing machine it worth using a quality anti-limescale product to prevent problems occurring. Limescale can develop in your machine with every use – just like a kettle – and it can start to affect the performance of the machine and even the taste of the coffee if left to build-up!  Limescale damage is avoidable states Plumber Salt Lake City. If you act now you can prevent the negative effects of limescale build-up like loss of efficiency and failed parts.

Coffee Maker

The best way to tackle limescale is to include its prevention as part of your regular coffee maker maintenance. You will need to descale your machine every 3 to 6 months depending on the hardness of the water you are using in your machine. Even if you use filtered water you will need to descale your machine occasionally to remove traces of limescale from pipes and valves.  If you are not currently using filtered water then it is definitely something to consider – even if you live in an area with soft water a water filter will still remove impurities, like rust and minerals, and improve the taste.  You can buy Brita filter jugs and replacement cartridges.

All Heating Elements

Severe hard water limescale problems will affect all heating elements in your house where they heat water. This includes kettles, baths, sinks, showers, immersion heaters, dishwashers and washing machines. So if you live in an area where the water is so hard that it causes problems, and you are likely to stay in this area, then you may be better off looking at other methods of softening all of your water rather than just dealing with the problem in the washing machine.

Presumption of Water Softening Tablets

Products such as Calgon don’t do anything that proper washing machine detergent doesn’t do (as long as you use the correct amount) although they do:

  1. Help protect against under dosing.
  2. Soften the water allowing you to use the amount of detergent recommended for soft water in a hard water area

The last effect could potentially save money if the money saved by reducing the amount of washing detergent is greater than the cost of the tablets. Plumber Salt Lake City dosen’t know of anyone that’s done the appropriate tests to determine this but Some Tablet makers claim you could save up to 25% of the amount of detergent required. 25% is presumably the best case scenario, it depends how much the tablets cost compared to how much you save in detergent.

Some reputable washing machine manufacturers recommend Calgon, but then they are presumably recommending it because they would rather people use Calgon tablets and keep their washing machines free of limescale (and working) even if it is a short-sighted solution or if it’s only effective for a small percentage of their customers. Maybe they know if the washing machine packs in due to hard water many people will just blame the washing machine? They aren’t looking at it from the bigger-picture point of view, which someone suffering from bad limescale problems may well be better off doing.

Using anti limescale tablets in your washing machine can only deal with the effects of limescale in your washing machine. If these effects are so bad, then what about the rest of your plumbing and appliances?

How can I Deal with Hard Water and Remove Limescale? Should I Use a Water Softener?

If you want to try and tackle hard water and limescale problems at the source instead of expensively fighting the symptoms in individual appliances, you can use either a water softener system or try one of the much cheaper electronic water conditioning devices.

The main benefits would include:

  • Removing and preventing limescale
  • Protecting appliances such as washing machines, kettles, dishwashers, hot water cylinders and pipework
  • Save on detergent as the water feels softened
  • Potential improvements in skin conditions such as eczema

Plumber Salt Lake City recommends that you treat your machine once every six months with a limescale remover to avoid damage to your machine. This will improve efficiency so it will use less energy.

Connect a Washing Machine to a Full Scale Water Softening System

Some washing machine manufacturers advise against connecting their washing machine to an full artificially softened water supply (not the electronic water “conditioners” mentioned above) as it can make the water too soft for washing. If you don’t reduce the amount of detergent it can result in oversudsing, but less detergent can give poorer wash results.

Modern washing machine detergents can be less effective in very soft water because the detergent does not dissolve as well. This can cause detergent deposits on laundry.

Using a washing machine with an artificially softened water supply should not damage the washing machine, but wash results can be affected due to the detergent not dissolving properly and leaving detergent residue on laundry. This may be counteracted a little by using an extra rinse option on the washing machine if available. This advice may also help If you live in a (naturally) very soft water area. Plumber Salt Lake City current understanding is that this advice is relevant to chemically softened water rather than electronically conditioned devices mentioned above, which claim to condition the water and prevent limescale build up rather than physically soften water.